I Slept With Him For Years For Fear Of Being Alone.

He came into my life at a time when I needed him most and without a second thought I clung to him for many a night. It wasn’t like we had a relationship, the kind where you want to spend every waking moment together. It wasn’t like we would get lost in conversation, uncovering deep-seated feelings that connected us on an emotional level. We didn’t go to dinner. We didn’t catch a movie. We never went out – were never seen in public. Truth be told, I didn’t give him much thought as I went about my day, but as night would begin to fall I felt a yearning inside me I knew only he could satisfy. As I climbed in bed, I needed him with every fiber of my being. The thing is, I don’t regret a single night with him.

Stormy Night by Kalense Kid

For most, childhood memories of bedtime present images of favorite jammies, soft blankets, a certain bedtime story that could be told time and again before drifting off to sleep.

Not me.

Bedtime was always a tough time for me as my imagination without fail would choose that specific time to kick itself into overdrive, instilling fears in me so powerful I would hide under the covers ensuring not a toe or a brown curl was unprotected from what lurked in the dark shadows of night. I would stare at the inside of my Strawberry Shortcake blanket, focus on the pattern of my warm breath…inhaling…exhaling…inhaling…exhaling. Once drenched with sweat, gasping for air and believing I would face a fate worse than what existed beyond the safety of my blanket (passing out into permanent darkness),  I would peel a tiny corner of the blanket away from me, turn my head, and take in a large breath of fresh air before returning to my former state. At some point I would pass out, not from lack of oxygen or imagination but from sheer exhaustion.

It wasn’t until Louie came into my life that things changed for me.

Prior to Louie, I would choose one or two stuffed animals to join me each night, but with the innocent mind of a young girl I felt guilty each time I chose them. It was bad enough I would have to face all the night’s scariest creations, I was subjecting them to the same rather than leaving them cozied up in the basket with the rest of their friends.

Which is why when my grandmother presented me with Louie the Monkey on my tenth birthday I was relieved – no matter that I was probably well past the age when children cuddled up to a stuffed animal. He was soft and brown, and looked into my eyes with a hint of a smile on his face. He was about the size of those body pillows they sell nowadays, or maybe that’s how it seemed through a scared little girl’s eyes. With Louie, I no longer hid under the covers. Instead, I held on to him for dear life. The fears were there still, but somehow they seemed a little less daunting with Louie by my side. I breathed a little easier and found a bit of peace before drifting off to sleep each night. His presence helped me sleep better through my high school years and even some of my college years.

Some nights, after a particularly rough day, I still yearn for Louie. I miss him. Not in the physical sense, but in the sense of peace he gave me so many years ago. As grownups, we take so much to bed with us each night with no surefire way to let those fears, those worries, those feelings just sit on a separate plane while we relax and get the rest we so desperately need. Wouldn’t it be nice to find something that would ease our minds each night?

I still have Louie, though you’ll be relieved to know I no longer sleep with him. He is in a box in the attic which does make me a bit sad now that I think about it, but he served me well. Ironically, he was the first one I thought of when my daughter was younger and had nightmares.

He served her well too. How was I to know at the age of ten that my nighttime companion would one day ease my daughter’s fears as well?

Did you have a Louie in your life?

24 thoughts on “I Slept With Him For Years For Fear Of Being Alone.

  1. Mine was Bun- a giant pink rabbit that kept me safe not only from the evening creepies, but from falling out of my bunk bed. He was about three feet tall, and he slept between me and the bunk bed railing to keep me from falling out. I slept with him until I was in college and (tragically) I was so drunk I threw up on him in my sleep and I had to throw him away. I was heart broken.

  2. My favorite stuffed animal was named White Sox, and he still has a special cardboard box bed in my closet because I can’t bear the thought of putting him in a plastic bin in the basement.

    1. White Sox! I love it! I’m really enjoying hearing about everyone else’s “companions” and knowing I’m not alone. It’s great that you still have him in a special cardboard box bed! 🙂 Louie went in a box during one of our moves and never made it back out. This post has me anxious to hop on a plane and go rescue him from the dark attic he is sitting in…like I’ve failed him somehow. LOL

  3. I had a terrible experience that happened to me as a child. I have always been afraid of the dark. I am better now but when Al is in the Hospice House, those fears return and much of what you said is how I live at night. The dark, not being able to see, the doors might open or the windows busted. I know where it stems from but the night time is my worst time. I so miss a husband in my life. I have Rhino the cat, which helps but the alone time at night is what draws me to always wanting a companion

    1. Terry, my grandmother lived to be 103 years old and I have yet to meet another person who had as much faith as she did. And yet, her sister instilled in her a fear of the dark when she was a child that she was never able to let go. I have never lived alone. Somehow, I think I would be a lot like you if I did. Thank goodness for our pets! I hope Al is having more good days than not. Still think of how sweet it was of you to bring Christmas to him early this year. 🙂 Big hugs!

  4. Well into my teens I would not dare leave a foot outside the blanket in fear something was going to grab it. Its quite ironic that we come to believe a blanket or stuffed animal will somehow protect us

  5. I still have my monkey as well. Somewhere on the attic in a box almost 40 years old but still part of my life may it be locked up. Yes he really is a monkey. He was always there in a corner on a chair.

    1. A monkey?! Really?! I thought I was going to hear about quite a few teddy bears. I love that yours is in the attic too, yet you still consider him part of your life. I think the same of mine!

    1. Funny you should mention that. Besides the fact that I’m working on a post about dogs as companions, my daughter started sleeping the best when we got her a dog. Coco, our lab mix, sleeps with her every night!

  6. Once again you have cleverly pulled me through the emotional tugs of my heart, leaving me in unexpected sentimental tears with your talent of weaving your words! Ending up in your daughter’s arms is what did me in!
    It nay also have had a little to do with the fact that…….. My daughter still has my lambie

    1. So sweet that she still has something you kept close to your own heart for years! I loved seeing my daughter curled up with my little companion. Writing this post made me want to fly back to the states and pull him out of the attic. 🙂

  7. Ahhh gorgeous 🙂 Glad he made you feel so safe. My 3 y/o Niece loaned me her Guardian Monkey to look after me at a hospital appointment a few months ago. Such a sweet gesture, and it really did help me 🙂

    1. Amazing what a stuffed animal can do for a child. I love your niece’s gesture…straight from the heart. She gave you something that made her feel safe. BIG move for a three year old! 🙂

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